By Duane Cochran
For the Times West Virginian
For some the announcement of Jason Woodman’s hiring as Fairmont State University’s new head football coach came as a bit of a surprise.
But to those in the college coaching profession who know the 33-year-old Woodman and have worked with him, it’s a just reward for a young coach who has paid his dues the past nine years climbing the college coaching ladder.
“I think he’s a great hire for Fairmont State,” said LSU head coach Les Miles, who had Woodman on his staff for two seasons as a graduate assistant. “It’s a great move for him and for the school. I’ve followed his career, and I think it’s the right time for him. Any time you see a guy who works as hard as Woody does you know he’s deserving of an opportunity like this, and I’m very happy for him. You root for guys like him.”
Miles says he was genuinely impressed with Woodman’s work ethic and knowledge of the game when he was with the Tigers and that he often made insightful and helpful suggestions to the coaching staff when they were game-planning for opponents.
“The tasks we gave him to do, he did better than what we expected,” said Miles. “In other words, he was a coach who expected more from himself than we expected. He’s a tremendously conscientious individual, a very personable guy and a very bright football coach. Really, this is just the start for him because he’s only going to get better and better with time.
“He constantly gave quality suggestions when we were game planning which helped give the veteran guys the ability to shortcut some of the views of the opponent on a given week. He helped get us zeroed in on what was the best way to attack them. Obviously, he’s a very disciplined guy who has a great personality, and I really think the players there will enjoy playing for him. ”
As a coach and coordinator, Woodman isn’t an individual dead set on running one particular style of offense or defense. Instead, he prefers to adapt his systems to best fit his personnel.
“Philosophy has a lot to do with your personnel,” said Woodman. “If I have a Reggie Bush at running back I’m going to try to run the football, and if I have a Jerry Rice or a Dez Bryant at receiver I’m going to try to throw them the ball or get the ball in their hands as much as possible. Overall, I think you’ve got to try to be balanced in your attack.
“Offensively, I’m a guy who likes no huddle. I want to try to put pressure on the defense and keep our offense moving fast. I want to try to give our offense as many chances as I can to make big plays and score points. Right now I can only speak philosophically until I can evaluate the talent we have and the talent we’re going to bring in, but I’d like us to try to get to a no-huddle tempo, employ our basic inside/outside zone runs and use some of our basic West Coast stuff passing-wise. I’d also like to be a little more spread then they’ve been in the past.
“The bottom line is we’re going to do whatever we have to do to win games – offensively, defensively and on special teams. Whatever that is and whatever we can employ to put pressure on the other team, that’s the route we’ll go.”
Defensively Fairmont State has used the 3-3-5 odd stack defense for several years, but don’t be surprised to see the Falcons go to more of a four-man front on defense under Woodman’s guidance.
“I have a general idea of our personnel on defense because we played Fairmont the past two seasons, but I think I’d like to see us use more of a four-man front on defense as opposed to the 3-3-5 odd stack,” he said. “I want us to have a good blitz package, a good base defense and be fundamentally sound. I think that’s a key on defense.”
Woodman will be formally introduced as the Falcons’ head coach today during a 1 p.m. press conference at the Feaster Center.